Most Indies shouldn’t ever publish. Well, most women shouldn’t have babies. #amwriting

That’s not a kneejerk yeah well you’re ugly and your mother dresses you funny response.  Ask any writer, traditionally published or indie, our books are the children of our brains, and we’re protective of them.

A traditionally-published writer puts that baby into the hands of professionals who whisk it away, do cosmetic adjustments, dress it, raise it, choose its schools, and, sometimes, hand it back after a while saying hey, we’re as sorry as you are, but the kid ain’t gonna cut it. Of course quite often (not always) the kid does good and the publishers are yammering at the door – make more babies. Fast. One a year. Go go GO.

Traditionally-published book-parents are proud to the point of arrogant about their progeny being Chosen, and they are enraged when an indie book baby does better than their own Improved By Professionals offering because it just isn’t fair. The indie parent had all the fun of producing exactly what they wanted, AND success?

What generally happens is they write scathing blogs, as Laurie Gough did with ‘Self-publishing is an insult to the written word’.  No idea who peed in her cornflakes, but she’s cross.  She thinks indies bash out a book in 24 hours, read it through once and think ‘good enough’ and publish.

I’ll not lie to you, I sometimes wonder myself. Book parents do range from the over-processed squeeze-it-into-a-fashionable-mode through to those who pop out a book in a week and stick it out into the world in a dirty nappy, snot running down its virtual face.

But not all, Laurie Gough. Not all. Some work on their books as hard as you do. They write them, rest them, edit them, polish them, send them to beta readers,  edit and polish again, send them for professional editing, they find the money and they pour it in willingly and only then do they publish.  For an indie, that’s just the end of the beginning. There’s no handing over. There’s placing the book in the right places, trying to find the right readers.

There’s no easy publisher-provided dollop of paid reviews, no publisher-provided salesperson working the shops, nothing on tap.  Just a writer and a book, trying to make it in a largely indifferent world.

So when an indie does make it, when their readers loyally buy every book they put out, when they make a tiny niche for themselves in a giant market – suck it up, Laurie Gough. Don’t be ugly, because it makes you look ugly.

If no-one could ever sing unless they had a record contract, there’d be no live entertainment in pubs, no bands entertaining parties, no wedding singers.  Buskers, eek. You’d shoot them on sight.

If no-one ever offered their art without a professional contract with, random example, an advertising agency,  this would be a poorer world. The professional artists do a slick, pleasing, and efficient job, but the life and vitality poured straight from the artist’s eye into your brain, that’s the real deal. Love it or hate it, from piece to piece, you deserve the choice. Van Gogh wasn’t to public taste in his whole lifetime. Laurie Gough would completely approve of that. If he couldn’t find a dealer to handle his stuff, he was obviously useless. QED.

What if no-one ever had a baby unless it had been commissioned with high expectations and a mapped-out future?  Well, there’d not be 7 billion people on this planet, for sure. Yes indeed, we tend to be ruled by the elite who were propelled expertly through the system into the top jobs. And yes, some babies are a complete waste of space – for the most part, they live and die and their lives make very little impact. Sometimes, though, the elite fail horribly, and sometimes the great unwashed change our lives. Actually, very few inventions, very few of the things that change our world, ever came from the stuffed shirts taught how to think and behave from the start.

To be validated by a money-machine that sees potential for profit in you is wonderful, well done Laurie Gough.

To be validated by loyal readers is better. Had a look at your book sales. Hope they pick up soon, and soothe that anger of yours.

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33 thoughts on “Most Indies shouldn’t ever publish. Well, most women shouldn’t have babies. #amwriting

  1. An excellent post and I couldn’t agree more about the amount of work, polishing, editing and so on that goes into most self-published books. Unfortunately, there are a few self-published authors who do go for the quick way into getting their books out there. The harsh criticism of self-published authors as a whole from Laurie Gough is unjustified and badly thought out.

    • I do think some kind of ratings, if not controls, should come in at some point but dividing the whole literary world into ‘publishable’ and ‘dross’ was a huge step back into the dark. Thanks for your comment!

  2. I’m not even going to read Laurie Gough’s post because it will make me too angry!!!!!

    That you can write such an excellent post underlines all you say. Have you read Alison Williams’ post on similar lines? If not, let me know and I’ll look out the link.

  3. Kudos to you E J. I hope Laurie Gough reads this as I sit here and post the following. I hope you don’t mind. I think it’s appropriate in this case. I didn’t write it but I try to live by it.

    An old Cherokee told his grandson, “My son, there’s a battle between two wolves inside us all. One is Evil. It is anger, jealousy, greed, resentment, inferiority, lies & ego. The other is Good. It is joy, peace, love, hope, humility, kindness, empathy & truth. “The boy thought about this & asked, ‘Which wolf wins?'” The old Cherokee replied, “The one you feed”.

  4. Pingback: Most Indies shouldn’t ever publish. Well, most women shouldn’t have babies. #amwriting | Murielle Cyr blogs

    • Oh aye, agreed, and actually I felt a little guilty about my attack when I was told her sales were disastrous for December – we all bleed when that happens. But she did lash out unfairly.

      Your Cherokee quote definitely something to aspire to 🙂

      • When my book was published my son told me how proud he was of me. I thanked him but also told him not to expect to see me on Oprah or on the N.Y. Times best seller list. His answer was as follows; “Mom, how many people can say they have had a book published. I can say my mom just had a book published. How great is that for bragging. No one can ever take that away from you”. It was the best review ever. :o)

  5. Reblogged this on Lilah E. Noir and commented:
    Traditionally-published book-parents are proud to the point of arrogant about their progeny being Chosen, and they are enraged when an indie book baby does better than their own Improved By Professionals offering because it just isn’t fair. The indie parent had all the fun of producing exactly what they wanted, AND success?

  6. I suppose I should not venture an opinion or a response until I’ve read Ms. Gough’s article, but the black and white nasty tone of her title turned me off all by itself, so I don’t think I want to absorb additional negativity. Slamming the competition never works with me – especially to that level.

    You said it best – somebody must have peed in her cornflakes.

    An article with a retraction, an explanation and an apology might make me perk up my ears and change my mind about checking her out – otherwise, I’ll pass. Wonder if THAT article is likely to be forthcoming?

    xx,
    mgh
    (Madelyn Griffith-Haynie – ADDandSoMuchMore dot com)
    – ADD Coach Training Field founder; ADD Coaching co-founder –
    “It takes a village to transform a world!”

    • I think she might have to delete her original blog, or close down the editing service she offers to indies, she can’t really pour disdain on with one hand and try to earn money from us on the other?

      I suspect the original will be deleted. It had nothing at all constructive to offer and does her no favours. xx

      • Once something is online, it can’t really BE “deleted,” unfortunately for her – especially since there have already been negative reactions posted as well.

        An explanation and *sincere* apology for her tone – at the very least for her title – is probably the only thing that *might* save her indie editing business in the future.

        IF, that is, she does it because it is simply the right thing to do (and she is sincerely mortified by what she said in anger and/or fear), and NOT merely as a calculated ploy to line her pockets.

        In my experience, miserable people take miserable actions, so I’m sure she is struggling and in a panic. Her lesson will be to temper how she responds in those situations – and ours is to do our best to empathize and forgive (which is not to be collapsed with hiring her services or supporting action that are out of integrity with kindness, love, and SINCERE support, however).
        xx,
        mgh

  7. It’s a risky publicity move, but perhaps she was desperate. I think the article itself might provide some clues as to why she might not be selling.

    Anyway, I’ll go away and work on that ‘dashed-off’ novel that I’ve been working on since last February.

    • Thanks for reading, and for commenting!

      If you’re on a PC, my book covers are in the margin, clicking on any would take you to Amazon but they are also with other on-line sellers. Not sure what your view options are with a phone or more limited viewers.

      (I’m a bit rubbish at that all-important marketing stuff. You probably guessed that :D)

  8. She is mad because her new book didn’t sell a SINGLE COPY in December in either print or eBook. Basically, it’s a huge failure and her publisher or agent (or both) probably dropped her like a hot rock as a result.

    • Oh, she has a point, you are one of the true professionals in a world that does have a lot of chancers! But to dismiss the whole indie population as not knowing how to write or work hard – really? Grrr!

      Happy new year, we really should try to meet one of these years!

      • Thank you, and right back at you! And I do agree, not all take the care they should but her post was so sweeping in its criticism and generalisations…grrrr indeed!!

        Yes we should meet up – if I’m ever heading as far north as you I shall let you know 🙂 Equally if you ever find yourself on the Edinburgh to London train – stop off at the glorious Peterborough and we can have a natter 😉

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